Africa Evidence Leadership Award

2021-01-18 advocates africa evidence leadership award award connects evidence 2022
Africa Evidence Leadership Award


Terms of Reference of the Africa Evidence Leadership Award (AELA) 


The Africa Evidence Network (AEN) is a broad community of diverse people who share a common commitment to producing and using evidence for decision-making in Africa. This pan-African network is open to all who live and work on the continent, and is unique in six broad dimensions because it spans:  

  1. All countries in Africa;  

  1. All sectors including members working across all the areas within the Sustainable Development Goals; 

  1. All spheres including government, academia, civil society and all intermediaries; 

  1. The full diversity of roles within these spheres from members of parliament and directors of companies, to researchers and programme managers;  

  1. All elements of the evidence production and use cycle, from the generation of evidence to its integration into policy and implementation; and 

  1. All types of evidence from administrative data, evaluations of all kinds, experimental research, citizen experiences and systematic syntheses of primary studies.  


As of January 2021, the Network’s membership includes over 3 400 people approximately 40 different countries, including those from more than 20 African governments. The AEN has a growing reputation for leadership in evidence for decision-making and is regularly consulted with by individuals wanting to produce better evidence, use evidence for a range of decisions, and get advice on how to set up regional networks elsewhere. The Africa Evidence Network is supported by a Secretariat based at the Africa Centre for Evidence hosted by the University of Johannesburg.  



The Africa Evidence Leadership Award works on a nomination basis and is awarded annually. The Award was established in 2018 by the AEN, with the threefold purpose of:  

  1. Increasing awareness of evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in Africa; 

  1. Raising the status of evidence amongst decision-makers in Africa; and 

  1. Showcasing the status of Africa in EIDM discussions by recognising impactful, insightful, effective, and/or innovative work that supports EIDM in Africa.  



The award is provided as a travel bursary and will be administered through the AEN secretariat who will coordinate with and pay event organisers directly. Award-winners will not be given any of the award directly. The recipient of the award will be required to sign a contract of more specific terms and conditions, and will be an AEN brand ambassador.  

The recipient of the award will receive:  

  • A space in the biennial Evidence programme to deliver a keynote address on their work 

  • Registration, economy return flights from an African country of residence, and accommodation while attending the biennial Evidence conference taking place in 2022 (situation permitting)

  • Up to USD1500 travel grant towards attending a high-profile course or event on EIDM [1] 

  • A token of recognition presented at the next EVIDENCE in-person event 

The award excludes: 

  • Per diem (daily subsistence costs, any meals not provided for by Evidence 2022 or accommodation) 

  • Visa and passport costs  

  • Airport transfers 

  • Recreation costs  

  • Changes in flights or accommodation after bookings have been secured by the AEN secretariat 



This award is a given to individuals [2] only. Only AEN members can nominate other AEN members to receive this award. To be eligible for the award, the nominee must: 

  • Be a member of the AEN having joined the Network at minimum six months prior to their nomination, 

  • Be able to demonstrate leadership in and an influential contribution to EIDM in Africa, 

  • Work in any sector as long as they can motivate their participation in EIDM [3] as an evidence-user, evidence-producer, evidence-broker or any combination of these, 

  • Provide proof of citizenship of and/or permanent residence in an African country (as defined by the United Nations), 

  • Be available for the entire duration of Evidence 2022, and must commit to giving a keynote address at the event, and 

  • Be able to provide clear evidence of an exceptional contribution to EIDM.  



This Award considers nominations only; no applications are taken into consideration for the Africa Evidence Leadership Award. Deadline for nominations is 12 February 2021. To submit a nomination, a nominator submits the 1) nomination form containing all supporting information AND the 2) confirmation form (completed by the nominee) to the AEN secretariat (via by 12 February 2021 23:59 SAST. All documentation should be emailed in PDF format to the AEN secretariat at [4] with the subject line AEN AWARD NOMINATION. Nominations in either English or French will be accepted. We can provide French translation for applicants if required. 



After the submission deadline, the nominations will be reviewed by the AEN awards committee, and a list of shortlisted nominees will be prepared by 26 February. Online profiles of shortlisted nominees (protecting the contact information of applicants; shared publicly only with their permission) will be shared via the AEN. Each AEN member will have one opportunity to vote for their preferred shortlisted nominee until 24 March. The final shortlisted nominations will be considered by both governance structures of the AEN (Reference and Advisory Groups), with one award-winner and two runners-up being announced on 6 April.  



The Africa Evidence Leadership Award seeks to recognise individuals who have demonstrated clear and enduring leadership in the field of EIDM on the African continent. The nomination must include evidence of the candidate’s experience in this field, their influence in advancing EIDM in their contexts, and their relative reach. Examples could include strong advocacy for EIDM; introducing innovations in evidence production, brokering and/or use; enhancing structures for use of evidence for decision-making; creating enabling environments for EIDM; fostering collaborations to enhance EIDM; embedding EIDM into previously resistant environments etc. 

Criteria for assessment therefore is not prescriptive but rather reflective of the unique career trajectories and EIDM activities of the candidate as per the nomination. The panel will look for evidence of knowledge, experience and leadership in assessing the submission for each candidate. These could include, but are not limited to, awards, distinctions, publications, policies, public engagement, sector reach and diversity, leadership roles (formal and informal) etc. 

To enquire about the award or anything pertaining to the award, contact  Siziwe Ngcwabe via .  


#AELA2021 #AfricaLovesEvidence #Evidence2022 


[1] Some eligible events or courses include: Global Evidence Summit, Global Evidence and Implementation Summit, biennial conference of the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence, Cochrane Colloquium. Award winners are welcome to propose to the award committee additional events or courses not listed here. The award is valid for a year.

[2] Members of the AEN secretariat, Advisory Group, and Reference Group are precluded from being nominated for the award while they hold positions within these bodies. However, members of the AEN secretariat, Advisory Group, and Reference Group may nominate other AEN members for the Award. 

[3] For the purposes of the award, the EIDM sector is defined as both the supply and demand/use of research evidence (which includes monitoring and evaluation, impact evaluations, evidence synthesis, and data and knowledge management). This definition is intended to be broad so as to be as inclusive as possible. If you feel your work is not represented by this definition, kindly contact us at

[4] Nominations in other formats where online access is problematic will be accepted on the condition that the nominee has successfully contacted the AEN secretariat by phone or email by 23 January 2020 to arrange the alternative submission process. Nominations posted to us without prior agreement may not reach us timeously and therefore cannot be accepted.